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Ollie’s back for a third spell at Loftus Road - and things will be far from dull

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 November 2016

Ian Holloway was at his enigmatic best as the QPR boss was unveiled to the press at Loftus Road on Wednesday afternoon. (Pic:PA)

Ian Holloway was at his enigmatic best as the QPR boss was unveiled to the press at Loftus Road on Wednesday afternoon. (Pic:PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

They say you should never go back. Well, Ian Holloway has returned for a third spell with Queens Park Rangers.

Holloway (left) has brought in Marc Bircham as his first-team coach at Loftus Road. The pair previously worked together at Millwall, with the latter playing under Holloway during a playing spell at QPR. (Pic: PA)Holloway (left) has brought in Marc Bircham as his first-team coach at Loftus Road. The pair previously worked together at Millwall, with the latter playing under Holloway during a playing spell at QPR. (Pic: PA)

The 53-year-old served with distinction as a player at Loftus Road between 1991 and 1996, before returning as boss in 2001 and departing five years later in 2006.

While his first spell in charge as manager ended acrimoniously, after he was suspended in February 2006 amid persistent links with Leicester City, he remains a fans’ favourite after rebuilding a side which went into adminstration back in April 2001 and suffered relegation to the old Division Two.

Holloway took the Rs back up three years later and had established them in Division One by the time he had left.

Some would argue hard work and passion only take you so far, but hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

QPR’s 2003-2004 promotion squad is perfect testament to that statement. It was not blessed with an abundance of quality, but there was a group of individuals who really cared and gave their absolute all for the club – and success duly followed.

Holloway, who previously managed QPR for a five-year spell between 2001 and 2006, celebrates his side reaching the then Division Two play-off final back in May 2003. (Pic: PA)Holloway, who previously managed QPR for a five-year spell between 2001 and 2006, celebrates his side reaching the then Division Two play-off final back in May 2003. (Pic: PA)

The doom and gloom surrounding QPR lately was getting depressing. The atmosphere has been as bad as it has been for a long time and a change had to be made. The club needed a lift. Is there anyone better than Holloway to do that? Probably not. His passion and enthusiasm for the club and football in general is infectious.

Many will point towards his last spell at Millwall being a complete disaster, but the same people will forget the incredible job he did at Blackpool – and look where they are now. He also got Crystal Palace promoted to the Premier League three years ago. For where QPR are now, he is the perfect man.

The reaction to Holloway’s appointment has been very positive on the whole, although some on social media have questioned whether it is a backwards step, considering how long he has been out of work and the fact it has been a decade since he left Loftus Road.

But, since his departure from the Den in March 2015, the Bristolian has remained heavily involved in football.

His work as a pundit for Sky Sports gave him the opportunity to watch a lot of lower-league football, particularly the Championship, and he has covered the Rs on numerous occasions, thus will have a good understanding of this current crop of players and what he wants to do moving forward.

Holloway (second right), celebrates QPR's play-off semi-final victory over Oldham Athletic in May 2003 with Paul Furlong (left), Bircham (second left) and Danny Shittu.Holloway (second right), celebrates QPR's play-off semi-final victory over Oldham Athletic in May 2003 with Paul Furlong (left), Bircham (second left) and Danny Shittu.

The break away from management could have been a blessing in disguise for Holloway – he will come back fresh and ready to prove that he is still cut out for this level. He is also held in high regard by QPR fans and will not want that reputation tarnished under any circumstances.

As for the backwards step, there where darker days the last time Holloway was in charge, so why can’t he be a success again?

He galvanised a broken club that appeared to have no way back, so why can’t he have a similiar impact again this time?

Holloway is certainly not short of confidence, that’s for sure. He will back himself to be a success at Rangers again and take them back to the Premier League, where he says they belong. His passion was clear for all to see in his recent interview with the club following the announcement he would be returning as manager.

He was visibly emotional, admitting he never thought this opportunity would arise again and insisting there probably isn’t anyone else who knows better the club than he does.

The 53-year-old had been working as a pundit for Sky Sports before sealing an emotional return to Loftus Road. (Pic: PA)The 53-year-old had been working as a pundit for Sky Sports before sealing an emotional return to Loftus Road. (Pic: PA)

The ability to work within a tight budget won’t phase Holloway, either. He’s seen it all before. After all he took Blackpool up to the Premier League for the first time in their history with very few resources.

Can he do it again? It won’t be easy but it’s not mission impossible. Director of football Les Ferdinand says promotion is possible via the play-offs this season, while insisting that a change needed to be made if the club was going to move forward, which resulted in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink being axed.

That dream looks a rather distant one as things stand, but one thing’s for sure – with Holloway at the helm there won’t be a dull moment.


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